Former first lady Grace Mugabe is alleged to have demanded a US$5 million bribe from Nigerian billionaire businessman Aliko Dangote in order to secure his investments in Zimbabwe. According to the Sunday Times, Grace did not make the request directly. Instead, the request was made through former president Robert Mugabe’s nephew Patrick Zhuwao, who was a cabinet minister then.
Dangote was allegedly informed that as with all investors which come into Zimbabwe there was a need for him to secure his investments and grease elbows, and therefore a sum of $5-million is requested.
Zhuwao denied the allegations and refused to comment further on the matter until the identity of the person who made the accusations was divulged. Said the former minister, ‘I don’t know Dangote. I have never met him, and when he came to Zimbabwe I wasn’t even in the country. It’s all so laughable, and it’s easy for people to create e-mails and make claims.’
Grace is also alleged to have made spirited attempts to obtain Dangote’s direct contact numbers from his associate Josey Mahachi-Agbeniyi. Mahachi-Agbeniyi organised Dangote’s visit to Zimbabwe in 2015, and subsequent trips for his technical teams. A source who spoke to the Sunday Times said, ‘When Dangote was here, he gave out business cards to government officials, but his business card does not have his direct contact number, just his e-mail. Grace tried to get his direct number.’
Mahachi-Agbeniyi refused to comment on the matter and referred all questions to Dangote’s people. Said Mahachi:
‘He has his communication department, which you can call.’
However, In February Mahachi-Agbeniyi confirmed that some Ministers had demanded bribes from Dangote which resulted in him failing to follow through with his proposals. She also confirmed that the ministers in question were no longer in power.